A scheme conceived by right wing activist Amber Krabach and her cronies on the now-disbanded King County Republican Party “Election Integrity Committee” to surveil drop boxes throughout the county is an illegal effort to intimidate voters, King County Elections Director Julie Wise declared late yesterday.
“King County Elections will not stand for intimidation or scare tactics. I believe this is a targeted, intentional strategy to intimidate and dissuade voters from using secure ballot drop boxes. My team is not going to stand by and allow any group to seed fear and doubt amongst our residents and voters, especially when they are simply trying to make their voices heard,” said Wise in a statement.
“My team is documenting and removing these signs and referring any information about who placed them to the King County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation,” Wise added, confirming that the signs — which many democracy defenders have suggested be removed as quickly — are already coming down.
“Voter intimidation is outlawed at both the state and federal level,” King County Elections’ press release noted. “No voter should be discouraged from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Under state law, it is a crime to intimidate voters in an effort to discourage them from depositing their ballots in a drop box.”
“Under federal law, it is a crime whenever two or more people conspire to prevent or discourage people from exercising their constitutional right to vote. These are serious offenses that impact the heart of our democracy.”
“King County Elections conducts some of the safest and most secure elections anywhere in our nation, and these intimidation tactics are a direct extension of the anti-democratic rhetoric [behind the attacks on our democracy],” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Voter intimidation is a state and federal crime, and I’ve directed Sheriff Cole-Tindall to investigate.”
“There is no duty more sacred than protecting the right to vote and our democratic institutions, but today our democracy is under threat from those for whom their own extreme ideology is more important than the nation itself.”
“Signs intended to make voters feel like they are being watched and monitored and violating the law by depositing ballots is voter intimidation, period,” concurred King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.
The illegal yard signs put up by Krabach and her gang declare “This Ballot Dropbox Is Under Surveillance” and then say “Accepting compensation for harvesting or depositing ballots” (which is a mostly unheard-of practice) may be a violation of Federal law.” People reading the signs are then encouraged to “report suspicious activity here” via a provided QR code that goes to a page set up by Krabach and her election conspiracy theorist gang.
The scheme gained widespread attention when Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner wrote a story about it earlier this week. Following the publication of that story, the Chairman of the King County Republican Party sent a cease-and-desist letter to Krabach telling her that her activities were unauthorized and unapproved. The letter further instructed Krabach to remove all the signs and warns that if she doesn’t, she could face legal action.
Krabach did not respond to the Times’ request for comment. Though it seems she is not commenting publicly about her scheme, NPI has learned that Krabach has been making the rounds at local Republican Party meetings to promote her candidacy for the Washington State House of Representatives and her election conspiracy theories, and has engaged with people during those appearances.
Other election officials, including Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, have also characterized the signs as a totally unacceptable attempt to intimidate voters.
We agree. This is an outrageous attempt at a sensitive time to undermine public confidence in faith in one of the country’s most robust elections systems.
Election conspiracy theorists such as Krabach are convinced that there is massive fraud in Washington State and American elections. Although they have absolutely no evidence to support their ridiculous claims, they believe the process is rigged because it does not yield the outcomes that they want.
Elections in King County and Washington’s other thirty-eight counties are well secured. Voters can be confident that strong safeguards are in place to protect our democracy and ensure that our system of elections is protected against both domestic and foreign threats, despite what people like Krabach say.